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Disc Battery in the Nose

Topic Overview

Disc batteries (also called button cell batteries) are found in toys, watches, hearing aids, cameras, calculators, and some remote-controlled devices. These batteries are small, usually less than 0.5 in. (1.3 cm) across, and can be easily inserted into the nose.

A disc battery in the nose must be removed immediately. The moist tissue in the nose can cause the battery to release strong chemicals (alkali) quickly, often in less than 1 hour. This can cause serious damage to the sensitive mucous membranes lining the nose.

If you or your child has a disc battery in the nose, do not use nose drops or sprays of any type. This can cause the battery to corrode more quickly.

To remove a disc battery from the nose, have the child breathe through his or her mouth since the nose is blocked and try the following:

  • Pinch the side of the nose without the battery closed and have the child try to blow it out of the blocked side. Have the child blow his or her nose forcefully several times.
  • If the battery is partially out of the nose, you may be able to remove it with your fingers or blunt-nosed tweezers. Be careful not to push it farther into the nose. If the child resists or is not able to hold still, do not attempt to remove the battery.
  • After the battery is removed, some minor bleeding from the nose may occur. This usually is not serious and should be stopped by firmly pinching the nose shut for 10 minutes. See how to stop a nosebleed.

If you are not able to remove the disc battery, contact your doctor immediately. If you are not able to contact your doctor, go to the nearest hospital emergency department.

Related Information

Credits

By Healthwise Staff
Primary Medical Reviewer William H. Blahd, Jr., MD, FACEP - Emergency Medicine
Specialist Medical Reviewer David Messenger, MD
Last Revised March 18, 2013

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